Let’s get our terms straight

hi lee, i’m from malaysia. want to ask you about the real meaning of freeride. some say it’s north shore style, some say it’s just riding anywhere anyskill like the red bull rampage. and also i want to know the differences between freeride, all mountain and extreme XC.


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Hey Yikerk,

Great question. In my mind, the various riding style shake out like this:

XC – Riding natural trails both up and down, with an emphasis on covering lots of ground.

All Mountain – aka Extreme XC. Natural trails ridden aggressively, with some stunts thrown in. Up and down.

Freeride – Can be any terrain — urban, natural, manmade, etc. — with an emphasis on stunts, tricks and expression. You’re more likely to session than crank out a long ride. Up and down, but mostly down.

Downhill – Steep, gnarly terrain ridden as fast as possible. Down only.


— Lee

6 replies
  1. Evan says:

    All well and good, kind sir. But you forgot my favorite style: freeroading. Think trials meets skinnies and drops meets urban riding, on a fixie. Now that’s hardcore.

  2. leelikesbikes says:

    Or, back in the day, we used to cruise up mountain roads and PIN IT down. We called that freeroading too. Dude — on a tandem … so rad.

  3. SoCalDryWaller says:

    The french call it VTT, or All Terrain Bike. This is a great versatile term and is very inclusive of many types of riding. As for everyone on the fixie bandwagon, I don’t have many encouraging words for you.

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